Mike in Alb at Easter 2004
Mike at Work

Back to the Future?

I just finished reading a blog by Keith Oberman of MSNBC. He tells of finding footage from his days with CNN Sports where he managed to interview what would become, twenty-plus years later, the producer of his program on MSNBC. You can find Keith's article here. It is a few paragraphs from the beginning and titled "This couldn't be true, could it?"

That reminded me of two stories of surprise of my own. In 1964 I married Gay Landis Harris, a graduate of the OTHER high school in Boyd County, Kentucky, Paul Blazer High School, located in Ashland, Kentucky. We met for the first time at Kings Daughters Hospital in Ashland where she was working as a Nursing Assistant and I was working as a Laboratory Technician. For me it was literally love at first sight when I saw her. Gradually my charm, intelligence, and humor got her to overlook my lack of handsome features; and this beautiful, intelligent woman actually encouraged me (or so it seemed) to ask her for a date. I did. She say, "YES!" and the rest is history. We married the next year; and we have gone through all the ups and downs most couples who survive forty years of marriage know.

The first surprise was my picking up an old photo of the children's choir at what was then "Second Methodist Church" in Ashland. I saw old friends who were still children in the photo. I spotted two of my three sisters, a friend who is now the Reverend Anita Rayburn, and other tykes who were part of my world in that day. Then suddenly I looked down at one of the persons in the photo again! Could it be? I think it is! Yes! That is Gay Harris in that photo with me when we were about seven and nine years old respectively. We had no memory of meeting one another previously; but there in the photo was the fact---we'd known each other for years! It was a delightful serendipity for both of us.

The second surprise related to one of Gay's close high school friends. Gay knew her as Diana Judd, who "hung out" with Gay and a couple of other friends a lot. Diana was a beautiful, intelligent girl; but she became pregnant senior year; and the subsequent negative publicity of that (in the 1960s) led the parents of Diana's friends to force them to avoid her. She eventually moved away; but Gay did not forget her because of what a wonderful person she had been in high school.

In the mid-1980s my wife and I became fans of the singing duo: The Judds, composed of a woman named "Naomi" Judd and her daughter, Wynona. We both enjoyed their music; and were always impressed about Wynona's mother continued to look so attractive as she was already in her forties at that time. Later on in the 1980s we moved back "home" to Ashland and Gay was hospitalized for a short time. While she was there one of the nurses came into Gay's room and asked her "What do you think about Diana?" She didn't actually know how to respond because, as far as Gay was concerned, she hadn't heard much, if anything about Diana since they had graduated from high school.

It was then that Gay learned that Naomi Judd, of THE Judds was the Diana with whom Gay had shared and played as a teenager. She was already world famous; but Gay knew her only as "Diana," with whom she'd graduated in high school, and with whom she lost contact.

One final note: I believe Naomi (Diana) Judd was a beautiful young woman; but she was no more beautiful than my wife of forty years and who lost her sight three years ago. She doesn't have to deal with my getting older because she can't see it happening. At nearly 59 years of age Gay still has brunette hair, with very few streaks of gray. She's not as thin as Diana/Noami; but she certainly is beautiful in spite of all the difficult events the years of thrust upon her---from chronic illness to betrayal of friends and even church leaders while we were in ministry. She doesn't look like that girl in the children's choir, nor even like the one in the 1964 Paul Blazer High School Annual, where you see photos of both Gay and Diana. She was probably seen as an "also ran" among the good looking girls in the class of 1964 at Paul Blazer; but she has surpassed them all since that time -- doing some modeling in the 1970s and continuing to look very young even into her 40's. Even today I look at her; and I cannot see an aging woman who is married to an aging man. I see one who has matured into someone even more beautiful -- a woman after God's own heart.

I among all men am most blessed.


What is faith in the midst of change?

We are in the midst of emotional/financial/spiritual turmoil because of our realization that we must move toward or to Louisvillle by the end of June. Why?

  1. We have not found a place to live.
  2. We have no current funds for the move, the deposit, or the first month's rent.
  3. We also need to purchase our regular quarterly medications, which will cost over $1,000, during the time period of this other major change in our lives.

So what is faith in the midst of all of these changes?
  • Is it doing nothing but pray in the hopes that God will somehow act supernaturally to "save the day" for us?
  • Is it asking friends and family for their prayers, in hopes that more people praying will evoke a better response from God?
  • Is it apartment hunting with the hopes that the money might come by the time it is needed?
  • Is it asking for the help of others, churches, even the government?
  • Is it a mixture of the above?
  • Is it something else?

I am praying, planning (within the scope of little scientific basis for those plans), asking, and waiting. Faith, it is said, is the substance of that for which we hope. When we realize it we have it; and it isn't based on faith, but "reality." When we hope for it, pray for it, work for it, ask for it, even beg for it, we do so in faith HOPING for a good resolution, even if it isn't exactly the solution we sought.

Faith isn't the absence of doubt, or the absence of fear, or any of the other types of things folk would tend to call it. Faith is simply going on into the unknown with the knowledge that, in the end, the same God who loved us before we were born will protect us when we are old. Faith is acting as though the thing for which we hope is a "done deal," that we know somehow what we need will be given to us.

So we don't know how it will all end; but we know we're in the hands of God.